Low volume wells yield a meaningful percentage of the crude oil and natural gas produced in the U.S. During 2003, about 29 percent of the crude oil and more than 10 percent of the natural gas was attributable to marginal wells. Moreover, more than two-thirds of the wells in the United States are marginal. The value of marginal well production simply cannot be overstated.

Given the significance of marginal production, "first order" forecasts of recent production and well count trends were developed in order to gain insights on the future contributions from these type wells. Volumes of crude oil and natural gas [from marginal wells] are estimated to be approximately 4 Tcfe in 2025, an increase of nearly 20 percent compared to 2003 volumes. Further, the total number of marginal natural gas wells is projected to increase by more than 160,000 to over 400,000 wells. Clearly, myriad policies and technologies must continue to advance in order to keep these wells flowing and contributing to the economic growth and energy security of the United States.

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